Sheridan Smith takes up the reins of Lucie Miller, companion to Paul McGann’s eighth Doctor, for the first time in a full-cast audio adventure since To The Death, a gap of more than eight years. The good news is Sheridan is spot-on in her recreation of Lucie. she gets the exact mix of personality for Lucie Bleedin’ Miller as she was between the first and second series of Eighth Doctor Adventures, that being the largest gap in Lucie’s timeline and before her story became complicated.
This set consists of four stories, each one disc long, exactly as her adventures used to be, though now in a boxset rather than spread month by month.
First up, director Nick Briggs reminds the listener just who Lucie is in The Dalek Trap. It’s an odd tale, set inside a black hole (no less) and Lucie is very much centre stage as she deals with various people trapped inside the event horizon known as The Cradle of Darkness. The tale is strange on two levels; first the Doctor is a much-reduced presence, second although there are Daleks, they have little agency in this story and it turns out they, as much as the Doctor, are victims to… well, that would be telling.
The Revolution Game
If The Dalek Trap is odd at times, and ends with a slight mystery, the second story, Alice Cavander’s The Revolution Game is more straightforward. It’s Lucie’s birthday (though as it’s the year 3025, that means a lot of candles on the cake!) and the TARDIS has taken her and the Doctor to Castus Sigma, a colony world with one or two secrets. There’s plenty of action, a new (and intriguing) alien race and some traditional anti-corporate greed messaging in what is essentially a rock-solid story, with great characters and performances.
The House on the Edge of Chaos
Eddie Robson brings us the third tale, The House On The Edge Of Chaos, and it’s another colony world, this time the strange world of Horton’s Orb, a mysterious (and very large house) with a ‘Downton Abbey under siege’ vibe. Outside is a threat, a strange static, collapses in the foundations, and death. There’s even a romantic thread for Lucie, something not explored before to any great extent. For the first twenty minutes or so it isn’t clear where this story is headed, but by the end there are revelations, marriage proposals and a grisly secret or two revealed.
Island of the Fendahl
The final story is Alan Barnes’ Island Of The Fendahl. No secret as to the villain, but there’s a lot more happening on an island with several groups of people all secreted on the remote island of Fandor and it’s only right at the end the Doctor understands just what has been happening, but he alone won’t be able to stop the Fendahl. And why is it impossibly alive on the remote island of Fandor?
Island Of The Fendahl has one main problem: it’s too short. While the pacing is strong and never rushed, the setting is intriguing, and listeners may well wish they had more time to get to know the inhabitants of this strange setting. It’s a good story and brings together many threads and gives the boxset a modern Doctor Who feel, appropriate as Lucie was created at the time of the show’s TV revival.
This is a triumphant return for Sheridan as Lucie Miller and, with The Further Adventures of Lucie Miller Volume 1 four-story set retailing for £19.99 on download (launch price), highly recommended.
Volume Two is yet to be announced but must be a given on the strength of this release. We can’t wait!